White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black
Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Magic
Hardcover (MARGARET K. MCELDERRY, 310 pages, $17.99)
Cassel comes from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.
Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.
Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love -- or death -- and your dreams might be more real than your memories.
Author Site: www.blackholly.com
Judge a Book By Its Cover... (5 stars)
The Sharpe family have the power to work you. But curse work is illegal. Which is why Cassel's mother is off cooling her heels in jail. Unlike his mom and two older brothers, Cassel isn't a worker. That doesn't mean he's walking the straight and narrow though. Three years ago he killed his best friend Lila, a crime his family has worked hard to keep hidden.
Now his past is coming back to haunt him in his dreams. Vivid nightmares where a white cat takes center stage threaten to blow his cover at the private school he has been sucessfully hiding his shady nature at. When the even shadier behavior of his brothers starts leading Cassel to believe he's become the central figure in a con to top all cons he has to sort it all out without them becoming any wiser. Missing memories, feuding crime families and a truth he'll never see coming make White Cat a fast paced and satisfyingly twisted tale fans of good fantasy fic will devour quickly.
I've had White Cat sitting here ready to be reviewed for weeks. That doesn't happen to me often and it's usually for one reason only... because a book was so enjoyable and seamlessly executed I find it hard to be objective about it. It is, simply put, very well written. I didn't find holes in the plot or manage to predict the ending which I often do and at times find a little frustrating. A good surprise once in a while or at least a tapestry not easily unwoven are always winners for me as a reader.
The only thing I really didn't like was Lila. I found it hard to see why Cassel considered her his best friend. Personally, I thought she was a little too cruel and unpredictable to be someone many people would befriend. Even still it adds to the story and leaves lots of room for speculation about her demise.
Because I'm finding it so hard to offer more let me just say this... if you like any of Black's other work or are looking for some good urban fantasy fiction this book is just the start of what I think is going to be a really great and original series. Don't be the last person to catch on before it becomes hugely popular!
Mandy @ Edge of Seventeen
Notes: I received this book through the Amazon Vine program.